By: Lewis Dodley
Asian American pop stars are on the rise. Groups like Far East Movement have placed on the Billboard 100 and it seems they’re only becoming more popular. NY1’s Lewis Dodley filed the following report.
In 1963, Kyu Sakamoto’s enchanting voice and boyish charm made “Sukiyaki” America’s number one song. It would stay at the top for 14 weeks, but it wasn’t until 47 years later that another Asian topped the charts.
Far East Movement’s “Like a G6” soared to the number one spot on the Billboard 100 late last year. Out of Los Angeles, its members are of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Filipino descent, but they say it’s not about race.
“We grew up in a scene where there was Latino rappers, African-American rappers, Caucasian, and we all grew up as kind of a community, so when we saw them rise, it wasn’t like, ‘oh they broke because they’re a certain race,’ or ‘we broke because we’re a certain race,’ we all just meshed together,” says Kev Nish of Far East Movement. “Whoever breaks, it’s, ‘oh you’re reppin your neighborhood, you’re reppin the street, you’re reppin the scene.’”
New York’s answer to the L.A. band is Aziatix. Nicky Lee, former NYU student Eddie Shin and Queens rapper Flowsik hope their new single “Go” will propel them to the top.
“Good music breaks all barriers, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what your background is, and at the end of the day we just wanna do good music,” says Nickey Lee of Aziatix. “That transcends all.”
Two years ago, J.Y. Park, the producer of the Korean group Wonder Girls, seemed to anticipate what was to come.
“I think it could be a movement,” said Park. “I don’t think we’re competing against each other, we’re only helping each other.”
Now, groups from Korea are on the rise. Park’s Wonder Girls made the BIllboard Top 100 with the song “Nobody,” will.i.am. is working with girl group 2NE1 and Kanye West recorded with up and coming artist JYJ.
And last year, Far East Movement went platinum with their music, proving that Asian artists’ dreams can come true.
When asked about the difference between that group [JYJ] and Aziatix, however, Lee only laughs and says, “They’re more handsome than we are.”
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